This is not a drill. The Rubicon has been crossed. The barbarians are at the gate. Choose your metaphor. Once again, Thom has cut to the chase and walked us through the history and shown us the reality as no one else can. He is not alone. There are a few others who know and who can articulate what we are facing, although very few with his insight and talent. Historian Tim Snyder is another person whom we need to look to and listen to.

We should be very afraid when Republicans, or former Republicans such as Stuart Stevens, Steve Schmidt, Nicole Wallace, Jennifer Rubin, and Robert Kagan are declaring an emergency and warning of impending doom for democracy. They too are all eloquent and incredibly brilliant. I believe Thom spoke about Kagan’s editorial today.

It turns out that democracy entails much more than just voting, presidents leading their party, and legislators passing laws. Democracy is high-maintenance. Thom implores us to all be involved, but one often wonders if even activism is enough. What forces are we up against and how many citizens will ever maintain a high level of participation, and will that ever be enough?

Sacrifices are a part of the deal. Total focus and dedication on the part of many will be required. Leaders who recognize the urgency and refuse to back down or compromise are essential. All hands on deck. It may already be too late. Or the ugliness may take years to dissipate and recede into a far-out fringe again.

Unfortunately, irrationality, once it reaches a certain critical point and fever pitch is quite unaffected by rationality. All the words of the people listed above and of others fall on deaf ears when ignorance leads to extremism and fanaticism. If democracy survives this test, it will because enough people are still resistant to irrationality and fundamental insecurity. It will not survive the next test, as I have harped on incessantly, unless we stop miseducating our citizens in authoritarian bureaucracies.

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Thom prescription to remedy what ails America is (as always) spot on when he noted that “All genuinely patriotic Americans must unite to repudiate this quick-spreading cancer in the Republican Party.”

Although we need to defeat the oligarchs and their teams of co-conspirators in the public, private and academic sectors, I believe that must start with first breaking the control that the oligarchs have over our government. Until that happens they will continue to silence the voices of any number of individuals or individual movements, thus perpetuating their harm inducing status quos at our expense. Some time ago, Thom observed that the Lucy Van Pelt Effect governs public sector decision-making, because no matter how many times our citizens use our citizen-government feedback and collaboration mechanisms that are in the First Amendment, the oligarchs will quash their efforts. Although this used to work decades ago, since the oligarchs have misappropriated those rights (with legal fictions like Buckley, Bellotti, Citizens United and social constructs like racism), American progress has been in reverse for at least 50 years. I submit that for The Green New Deal to be made, or for Black Lives to truly Matter (and stay that way), or for labor to unionize as it should to ensure a living wage, corporate personhood must be ended. This also applies to the amazing folks who are part of the Indivisible groups, #MeToo, Dreamers, and myriad other citizens’ movements that exist because the oligarchs have provoked people into expressing their grievances.

To reverse our decay into fascism, it will take 3.5% of our fellow citizens to engage in the strategic application of persistent nonviolent resistant. In addition we need to deliver a whole lot of teaching for the masses about the truth of what has happened to our government and why. This strategy, found in Erica Chenoweth's latest book "Civil Resistance : What Everyone Needs to Know," is simple and proven. However, it would also be hard to do for a bunch of bad reasons that only benefit the oligarchs. Regardless, I believe we “just” need 3.5% of us (~12 million citizens) to unite with persistent nonviolent resistance, and do it with 21st century technology and knowledge, (i.e., best practice-based solutions). The urgency of such an endeavor requires that our most respected and influential progressive leaders collaborate with each other to inspire enough of our citizens to participate if we are to avoid the final environmental tipping points on Earth. We don’t have time for the big individual progressive movements to act on their own anymore. We need them to pull together starting with severing the control that the oligarchs have over our government, or the oligarchs will continue to swat them down individually like they have since Reagan’s reign solidified their control.

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Nazi Germany-1933! Fascist America 2024?

This is what happens when either an authoritarian political system recruits an authoritarian economic system, or when an authoritarian economic system remakes a democratic political system into a plutocracy - "Inverted Totalitarianism," https://www.truthdig.com/articles/sheldon-wolin-and-inverted-totalitarianism/.

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Hitler "groomed" and "grew" his forces while they were still in school. Isn't that pretty similar to what has happened in our country? We were brought up with false narratives and sold an America without warts. Now that folks want to drag our dirty laundry through the streets, the right does not have the guts to face it. We need to go to the school board meetings and use any media available to ask them to be brave. Let them know we are only as sick as our secrets. Maybe try to be nice and not use the word coward (even though I wanna).

The progressive movement has grown while they try to chip away. They can attempt to indoctrinate the kids, but these kids are growing up communicating with the whole wide world. And as a bonus, a whole bunch of them are trying to save the planet as a common goal.

The documentary "Final Account" has interviews with people who grew-up in the Hitler youth organizations. One who served in the war talked about Hitler being a coward. He was speaking to a class of German HS students in 2014. They were in the building where "the final solution" agreement was made at the Wannsee Conference. It's fascinating because a student said he was teaching them to hate their country. That 20% really is part of the fabric everywhere.

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There will always be conservatives and people who are looking backward rather than forward. That number is probably always well over 20%. Conservatives hold rational and legitimate views and have respectable policy positions and attitudes. They are the emergency brake for those of us who may get a bit manic and over-ambitious or over-optimistic about proposed change. They deserve to be heard. The people that Thom and others have been warning about are reactionary, extreme, authoritarian or authority-seekers, fear-driven, and super-moralistic when they are not being intensely self-serving and mercenary. They distrust human nature and have a totally cynical perspective about life in general.

The progressive people you appear to be pinning your hopes on are dreamers who in most cases believe that their faith, optimism, and good vibes alone will save democracy. Yes, the young people are amazing and enthusiastic and many are willing to become involved in finding or creating solutions. However, this crisis is going to take more than a positive attitude and a retooling of ideas and methods. False hope is just a way to delay serious action and meaningful change. The fascist element has captured more than 20% and they will not be stopped with platitudes and niceties. They see liberals and progressives as enemies and they are at war. Unilateral disarming is surrender. Allowing young people to continue to be conditioned, trained, behavior-modified, controlled, and sonambulized is suicidal. Attendance law is their free ticket to easy indoctrination and unconscious obedience conditioning.

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Here's another perspective from Chris Hedges:

"The oligarchs from the establishment Republican party, figures such as Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, George and Jeb Bush and Bill Kristol, have joined forces with the oligarchs in the Democratic Party to defy the autocrats in the new Republican party who have coalesced in cult-like fashion around Donald Trump or, if he does not run again for president, his inevitable Frankensteinian doppelgänger."


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As Thom has pointed out, fascism has been the point ever since the oligarchs took over the GOP. As I have mentioned, I have been watching it intensely since the mid '70s when I became aware. I looked into the Business Man's plot during the reign of Reagan. General Butler was certainly key. Thank God the Republicans thought a war hero would naturally be on their side. They really duped themselves. But one of our favorite enemies, Edgar Hoover, was also key, at least in keeping President Roosevelt alive. He opened an investigation into America First, the front that provided training for those involved in the plot, with SS trainers from Germany, who received their visas from none other than Roosevelt's Secretary of State. Hoover sent in an undercover agent in the form of a Polish priest who he brought into the country. This led to enough information for Hoover to begin criminal proceedings against many of the key participants, plus he learned the identity of the sniper who had been designated to take Roosevelt out under cover of a demonstration in New York by the Communist party, which was to be instigated and turned into riots by the New York City police so the assassination could be blamed on the Commies. Hoover then send his own sniper to Mexico City, where he took out the oligarchs' sniper on the tarmac of the airport there as he changed planes. The "proper Republican" who was to become president then? None other than Charles Lindbergh, personal friend of Hitler and father of at least two children by female SS officers. He even had his own Nazi uniform, and proudly posed wearing it with he and Hitler with their arms around each other's shoulders. The idea was that he would ally the U.S. with Nazi Germany in a war against the Soviet Union. In the end, the Polish priest was ordered arrested for a visa violation and sent to prison, where he was assassinated and the oligarchs, who should at least have received a black eye over the whole thing, still had the power to turn the trial of participants into a circus with few if any convictions and no jail time. Sound familiar? What it meant for us is that very few citizens of this country have any idea that anything like this ever happened. I believe more are now aware, but we need everyone to look at it and learn, because it is happening again, and this time I don't see any Butlers or Hoovers on the horizon. Stopping it is up to us.

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Chris Hedges is another rare truthteller.

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That's why I like Thom's assessments; he puts things in a larger context. It's an uncomfortable reality that we have been, for a very long time in maddening dribs and drabs, steadily losing our democracy one norm, one institution, one moralistic stance at a time. In these horrific times, the bigger picture seems to elude most political pundits, at least on the right.

So what is that 30-thousand-foot view anyway? With a dizzying array of seemingly disconnected issues swirling around in a hot stew, the cause and significance of each do not always rise to the surface. But you'd think that after a heaping bowl full of crap served up day after day by a chain-smoking slob in a dirty T-shirt who never bathes, it would finally dawn on even the most thick-headed with the worst ulcerated stomachs that it would be prudent to hire a new cook.

But nope. The Republican Party is still in the kitchen cooking their retching soup de jour. And so many are still lapping it up and vomiting it out.

Of course, the bigger-bigger picture is that human nature must somehow evolve if we are to ultimately survive; but for now, the sheer scale of the stupidity of the people who still self-identify as Trump Republicans -- 63 percent in a recent poll -- will have to suffice as one of today's worst clear-and-present dangers. They ain't going away anytime soon, and the whole political scene will just keep getting uglier and uglier until they can be out-voted election after election. 2018 was a start, 2020 was a little better, but 2022 and 2024 will be crucial for democracy's survival -- and so will every election thereafter.

Someday, hopefully, the troglodytes won't dare emerge from their caves. Shunning them would be the acceptable social response.


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